Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Just give me a pot of boiling water so I can do it myself, you stupid computer!"

Lynn evidently got a search-engine hit regarding Patrick Stewart's suggestion of a favorite tea for Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was rejected in favor of Earl Grey, which is now known in Trekker circles as Picard's curt instruction to the replicator: "Tea: Earl Grey, hot." According to this 1998 interview with Stewart, this is true:

In Star Trek you drink a lot of Earl Grey. Do you see that as a man's tea?

When it first came up that Captain Picard was going to drink a lot of tea I suggested lapsang souchong, but the producers thought that nobody would know what it was. I must urge people not to send me any more Earl Grey. I've got so much of it now I could open a tea shop.

So there we have it: Stewart did indeed suggest lapsang souchong tea. (I've never tried that tea, myself.) Of course, that was a pretty dumb thing for producers to do; I'm sure audiences would have figured it out. But what always baffled me about Captain Picard was that he was a Frenchman, and yet, all of his passions are for British stuff! What was that about? He was always reading Shakespeare whilst sipping Earl Grey. Shouldn't he have been reading Proust over glasses of red wine?

There's other good stuff in that interview, by the way. For instance:

Have you ever had a comb-over?

Oh God, I did that for a while and it was horrible.

What's your least favourite synonym for 'bald'?

When I accepted the job on Star Trek in 1987 my daughter, who was then 15, used the expression "To baldly go where no man has gone before". I thought that was tremendously funny. I actually find the whole subject of my head really boring. I've also got a big nose, but people don't ask me about that because it would be rude. Somehow it's always open season with baldness.

I've always thought that Stewart was blessed with the perfect noggin for baldness, but that's just me.


Anonymous said...

Thanks! Hopefully that post will reappear soon. I'm having a bit of a problem over there.

Call me Paul said...

Yeah, not to mention the, um, British accent. But then again, there's a longstanding hollywood tradition of englishmen playing frenchmen on screen. Seems to Americans, any foreign accent will be believed as the one supposed to go with the character's alleged nationality.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't he have been reading Proust over glasses of red wine?

And shrugging disinterestedly every time some crisis threatens Earth, before going back to ignoring everyone while smoking a gauloise.

See, there are good reasons why Picard is basically English.

Kelly Sedinger said...

I don't question having a British actor play a Frenchman; I question having the character, who is supposed to be a Frenchman, exhibiting behavior of a Brit.

Anonymous said...

I prefer a British captain. So why didn't they just make him British, plain and simple? (They would have had to give him a different name, of course.) What was the point of saying that he's French? Was it in any way necessary? I wouldn't have minded a French crewman who actually acted French but "Captain Picard" is British and he should have been fully written that way.